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      Jabe Belcher, the most disagreeable man in Co. Q, was just ahead of him. He stepped into a mudpuddle, slipped, threw the mud and water over Si, and his gun, which he flung in the effort to save himself, struck Si on the shoulder.The elder Pendleton pushed his plate from him and with an ostentatiously careless air, took a packet of crisp bills from his breast pocket and commenced to count them. It was hard to get any change out of Pen, but this time she laid down her fork and frankly stared.

      "I'll be back shortly."

      "Very likely," said Pen calmly.The other pulled down the corners of her lips mockingly. "Old stuff, sister. Every con game that ever was started opened with that. Can the friendship. You'll need it next winter. Give it to me straight. What's the likes of you doing, trailed by a bull?"

      "Here, Sergeant, don't stand around doing nothing. Set the men a good example by pitching in lively. There's plenty to do for everybody. If you can't find anything else, help dig down that bank, and roll those big stones into the fill. Hold on; I've thought of something else. I want a reliable man to send over for some lumber. Put one of your men on that wagon there, and go with him, and take this letter to Capt. Billings, over at the saw-mill. It's a requisition for a load of lumber. Avoid the camps as much as possible on your way back, or they'll steal every inch of it away from you."

      "There is a story in the paper accusing him of murder!"


      "I might come back," he suggested.


      "By the way, Shorty," said Si, happening to glance at the sleeves of the overcoats which he had picked up, "we both seem to be Sergeants.""But I've got to take care of you!"


      But nothing happened. Nobody came plunging after her into the little opening. Not a sound was to be heard. The excitement of being chased died down, and a chill of apprehension struck to Pen's breast. What were they up to? They couldn't possibly see what she was doing in the little temple. Why didn't they find out then? The suspense became unbearable. Each minute was an age. She could have screamed aloud.